Traditionally, technical training has been limited by the confines of the classroom. Whether the training was held onsite or remotely, trainers required a dedicated space, with appropriate equipment, technical support and lengthy set-up times.
In recent years, however, Virtual Training Labs have changed the face of technical training inside the classroom.
A Virtual Training Lab is a technical environment that is may be set up either on premise or in the cloud, enabling anyone, from anywhere, to access this environment for development or training purposes. By logging into a secure URL, using a standard web browsers, participants are able to manipulate software or learn applications without risk to an enterprise infrastructure. These cloud-based labs may be used in the classroom or independently, allowing remote participants the flexibility of training anywhere.
MicroTek has helped many of its clients stretch the bounds of their training programs from both a knowledge transfer and business aspect. In this article we’ll highlight just a couple of creative uses of Virtual Training Labs our clients are utilizing to enhance their training programs.
Virtual Labs Provide Practical Computer Security Training
A computer security company was struggling to get their employees beyond “book knowledge” training and into a more practical, hands-on environment. They turned to MicroTek to help.
Because Virtual Training Labs are fully-functional, cloud-based machines, this client was able to set up sophisticated networks in the cloud that could be easily manipulated by each user. They purposefully set unsecure environments so that learners could attempt to secure the network, live and in real-time. This ‘sandbox’ environment allowed learners to develop real code and then test that code for vulnerabilities—without risk to the company’s live environment.
Simplifying Complex Technical Training with Cloud-Based Labs
Another MicroTek client used the virtual computing environment to simplify the delivery of their training at customer locations. For this client, their customers were required to train at their own locations, with their own computers, and were looking for a solution that didn’t involve time long set-up times or additional infrastructure. By using MicroTek’s Virtual Training Lab, this client installed the software once in the cloud and then accessed the cloud-based machine from web browsers at the customer’s location—saving them time, money and potential error.
With the help of the virtual environment, this client’s customers were they able to quickly access the software remotely and then further able to practice with the software even after the live training ended. This client saved hundreds of hours of set-up time, and provided their customers with the convenience of learning at their own locations.
Simulating and Manipulating Industrial Machines with Virtual Labs
Another client of MicroTek’s in the automotive industry used the virtual lab environment to practice manipulating industrial machinery. Traditionally, this client brought their learners to the manufacturing floor to train on equipment. They were looking for a more efficient and distraction-free environment to help improve learning, yet provide a real-world experience of working with their machines.
This client brought one of their smaller machines into one of MicroTek’s classrooms and used Virtual Training Labs to interface with the manufacturing environment and control the machine. The system that learners manipulated was identical to the one they would be working with in the manufacturing environment. By using the virtual training environment environment, employees could learn without interrupting live production or risking equipment. This truly afforded this client the best of both worlds—combining a comfortable, learning-conducive classroom environment with the real-life experience of actually controlling the machines.
Reducing Travel with a Lab Environment
This same auto-industry client found another practical use for MicroTek’s labs—to save time and expenses by eliminating travel. Their primary instructor was located in the U.S., but they needed to train employees in China. It would have been very costly and impractical to send their instructor around the world, so they decided instead to bridge the geographic gap with virtual computer labs.
They hosted their class in a virtual environment in the cloud. Combined with MicroTek’s highly-interactive Virtual Training Room, the instructor was able to see learners’ machines, take control of them when needed, and teach the class in real-time from around the world. This client truly leveraged the power of a virtual environment, yet were able to give employees an equal learning experience as if they were physically in the classroom.
None of these trainings would have been possible without the powerful technology of Virtual Training Labs. Labs have removed many of the boundaries around training by expanding what is possible to teach in a classroom setting.
Learn more about the benefits and uses for Virtual Training Lab and Virtual Training Rooms in our on-demand Next Generation Classroom webinar.